MXGP continued their season in Latvia overnight with the second of three back-to-back GPs for the MXGP of Riga.
Antonio Cairoli of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Jago Geerts from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing were the winners of the MXGP of Riga, though their wins didn’t come easy.
We also focus on the performances of the four Aussies that raced the round.
MXGP Race One
Race one of the MXGP class saw drama straight from the get go as a group of riders got caught out in a first turn crash including Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis as well as Calvin Vlaanderen and Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing, plus Jeffrey Herlings of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, among others.
Though at the front it was the other Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Jorge Prado who claimed the FOX Holeshot in the opening race, followed by team-mate Antonio Cairoli and Jeremy Van Horebeek of Honda SR Motoblouz who had a fantastic start.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was also down the order in the opening laps and was showing down in 22nd position, not where the defending world champion would have hoped to be and Aussie team-mate Mitch Evans got tangled up in a first turn incident that put him down in 31st place.
At the front though, Cairoli wasted no time to move into the lead as he passed Prado, who then had issue of his own as he had to pull into the pits to change his damaged front wheel and later re-joined the race a lap down from the leaders, and finished the race 29th.
With a problem in the start, Herlings was wasting no time in the opening race, finding his way around a group of riders. Jasikonis was also left with a lot of work ahead of him having to pick off riders in order to salvage some points in the first race.
By lap 7, the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team riders Romain Febvre and Clement Desalle were in a battle of their own, with Febvre eventually finding a way past his team-mate and Standing Construct GasGas Factory rider Ivo Monticelli to move into 6th.
Meanwhile for Gajser the race was a tough one, he managed to get up to the top 15, though not long after that had a dramatic crash which saw him out of the opening MXGP race.
Herlings and Jasikonis were making a great come-back through the field, with Herlings catching up to Van Horebeek who was holding on to a fantastic second place behind Cairoli who was in control of the race. On lap 14 though, Van Horebeek came under immense pressure from Febvre and Herlings, losing two positions on a single lap.
With one lap to go it was Cairoli, Febvre, Herlings and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer which is how they finished the race, with Van Horebeek eventually crossing the line in P5, with Desalle in 6th, Standing Construct GasGas Factory rider Glenn Coldenhoff in 7th and Jasikonis making a good comeback to 8th.
After recovering from that turn one tangle Mitch Evans battled his way up to 22nd by lap five, but mistakes halted his progress and he finished the moto in 26th.
MXGP Race Two
In race two, it was Ivo Monticelli flying out of the gate and went on to claim the second FOX Holeshot of the MXGP of Riga. Cairoli had another fantastic start and was up in 2nd, closely followed by Mitch Evans of Team HRC, with Herlings and Jasikonis right there as well.
As the riders made their way around the Kegums circuit, Febvre and Gajser made contact in one of the corners, which saw Febvre go down while Gajser just about managed to stay up. The crash really put a dent in Febvre’s podium hopes for this mid-week race.
Eager to make up for the first race, Herlings wasted no time as he moved up into P2 and chased after the 9-time world champion. Jasikonis also joined in on the party and was right there ready to challenge for the win.
It didn’t take long for Herlings to catch and pass Cairoli, who then came under fire from the #27 of Jasikonis who then went after the race leader.
Meanwhile Desalle was also moving up the order as he passed Monticelli for 6th place, while his team-mate Romain Febvre, was up in 17th.
Towards the later stages Cairoli caught onto the back of Jasikonis, who managed to keep the #222 behind him, before the race took a dramatic toll, which saw Herlings go down with just 2 laps to go.
As Cairoli came around the corner, he could not avoid the fallen race leader, and as a result went down himself, allowing Jasikonis to become the new race leader with a little bit of breathing room.
Though he couldn’t rest for long as with a lap and a bit to go, Seewer was on his back, with Herlings right there as well. In the end it was Jasikonis who claimed his career first race win, followed by Seewer and Herlings who finished 3rd. Cairoli finished 4th while Tim Gajser made his way back up to 5th.
After a promising start Mitch Evans drifted back through the field to eventually finish the second moto in 15th.
Overall it was Antonio Cairoli who claimed his 90th career Grand Prix win with 43 points, while Seewer placed 2nd overall with 40 points, with Herlings matching him for points and occupying the third step of the podium.
Tony Cairoli – P1
“I’m really happy to be back on the podium and with a win. Last Sunday wasn’t my day and I was dealing with another injury to my knee. I didn’t know what to expect. I went to the hospital to get some fluid and anti-inflammatory treatment. It was pretty sore and swollen. In the first moto I stayed out of trouble, made my rhythm, kept smooth and tried to keep my feet up. I was really happy with how it went. In the second moto I made another good start but Jeffrey and [Arminas] Jasikonis were riding really fast. I just tried to follow, and I knew my condition was OK: if I could be with them then I could push even more at the end. At one point in the waves I saw the yellow flags and Jeffrey on the floor. He picked up and started very fast in front of me and I was a bit shocked and had to brake. I lost the front wheel. I had a gap over the others so held my position and watched what would happen. I’m really happy with the result and the improvement over last weekend – especially with the starts – so now I’m looking forward to the next Sunday. Hopefully the knee can be a bit stronger and ready for the battles we all want to see.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2
“We have had some great races, also on Sunday. I feel super happy in one way… I finished strong, I had some tough battles and I recovered well from a bad start. I feel great, but on the other hand, I’ve had two races where I have been so close to winning and today, I was even close to winning the GP. So, I’ve had some good results over these days and the track has been rough, so it has been easy to make mistakes. I am really happy, my bike is working well although there are a few little things to work on and improve, which we will do and then I think I will be ready for the last one here in Latvia on Sunday.”
Jeffrey Herlings – P3
“After getting stuck behind the pile-up in the first moto I had to pretty much regroup and come back again, like I did in the second moto last Sunday. I made it to third and was on the rear wheel of [Romain] Febvre but couldn’t pass him. The start was way-better in the second moto – up to 3rd and my best since we arrived in Latvia – I passed Tony and was leading up until two laps to go when my front wheel washed-away. I still managed 3rd and apologized to Tony because he might have crashed because of me! Anyway, we are both on the podium and we extended our points lead in the championship. Hopefully next Sunday we can finally be on top of the box.”
Arminas Jasikonis – P4
“It feels so, so good to get my first MXGP race win. Overall, I know I could have got more out of today, but even though the first race didn’t go like we wanted it to, it’s finished in the best way. Qualifying fastest was great and I lined up on the inside for race one. I was unlucky in the first turn, falling with a few other riders. It was just a little bit unfortunate. I was able to regroup and get going quickly. I passed riders almost every lap and caught up to the leaders, so it was a positive race really. Second moto, I had a much better start and pushed really hard for the first few laps and moved into third place. I passed Cairoli for second place and then chased after Herlings. I couldn’t quite close the gap but then he fell and I took the lead. The race wasn’t over though, and I had some serious pressure, but I kept calm, hit my lines and took the win. I’m so happy for myself and the team, it’s been a long time coming and I can’t wait to race again on Sunday.”
Romain Febvre – P5
“This morning the track was rough and I didn’t want to take risks and push too much; even though I finished twelfth I was only just over one and a half seconds from the pole. The first start was strange as Prado cut across the pack and forced us to cut the gas in the first corner, otherwise we would have crashed. My starts were average in both motos but in the first race I had a good rhythm and was able to come back to second; it was a great result and I was confident for the second moto. Prado again had a strange reaction at the start; I had a good first lap to pass several riders but during the second lap Gajser hit me and I crashed. The pack was still close together so it cost me many positions. I came back to eleventh, but it’s just a shame that I missed the GP win due to this crash as my speed was very good during both motos.”
Clement Desalle – P6
“It was a decent day, much better than last Sunday. It was me on the bike today! I got a decent gate pick and my first start was OK but then I made a small mistake and lost some positions during the first lap. I was eighth but I came back to sixth with a good rhythm. My second start was similar but again I made a mistake during the first lap; this race was my best since we arrived here; I had a good rhythm, a good feeling and ended the day with two top six results so I’m happy with the improvements.”
Ivo Monticelli – P7
“Finally! A good day’s racing in MXGP for me this season. It’s been a struggle to start the season, getting injured and then not having much time on the bike before the season restarted. After qualifying, the team made some adjustments to my bikes suspension as the track was really rough, with square edge bumps everywhere. I had a good start in race one but couldn’t quite find my rhythm early in the race. At the halfway stage I did and then rode decent laps to finish 11th so this was pretty good. We made another adjustment to my bike’s suspension before race two and my team did a great job. I pulled the holeshot and felt confident, so I was able to push all through the race. Sure, I finished seventh, but this is a huge step in the right direction for me after a few bad GPs so I’m hoping I can continue like this. We have the perfect bike set up now, so I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”
Arnaud Tonus – P8
“Timed practice was really good. The times were really close. I went hard on the last lap of practice and I ended second, which helped me a lot on the start! I got a good start in the first moto and was riding really well for the whole race but made a mistake on the second to last lap. This was devastating. It was my mistake; I was a little bit under pressure and then made the mistake and ended up ninth. Devastating. In the second moto my start wasn’t great and I did the whole moto in 10th. The level is so high, like Romain Febvre was 10th and he was on the podium last weekend. It’s really hard out there, but I have to look at the positives and it was positive compared to last weekend.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek – P9
“I had a good start in the first race and I had the pace to race at the front but I suffered some arm pump and in the end finished in fifth which was good. In the second moto I was way deep in the pack on lap one and tried to come back through, but I had low energy and struggled to find good lines but we’ll keep working hard. The MXGP level is really high but 9th overall is not so bad.”
Gautier Paulin – P10
“I broke my right finger last week, so it’s quite swollen and painful especially when I land off a jump or in the hard braking bumps. It’s not easy, but I have good lap times. My gate pick was good today, but I had a crash on the start, again with Calvin Vlaanderen and I got going again and then a rider was stalled on a jump and I hit him and then Mitch Evans jumped on me. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. I had to start from dead last and I came back to 13th. In the last moto, I just wanted to finish without any struggles or crashing. I got back to eighth but got stuck behind a rider. My feeling overall is good, I am happy with the bike, I just have some pain here and there from all of the crashes I have had. I will definitely feel it tomorrow. I like the bike the way it is, I have everything I need to play my cards and be racing with the guys upfront because I have the speed. You can see that on the lap times, I just need to avoid racing issues to have a positive result.”
Tim Gajser – P13
“Obviously I am not happy with how the day went because I know I can do better than this. I wasn’t able to get good starts and on this track, that can cause really big problems. My aim now is to get back to enjoying my riding and focus on having fun at the track. Sunday will be the third event here and I still believe I can score good points and get myself back into the championship battle. It won’t be easy but I have a good team around me and we are all working hard to get the best results possible.”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P15
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose! This is motocross and it’s not always easy. Of course, after last weekend’s result it’s been a disappointing end to today’s GP, but my first race was ok. Finishing seventh after a big battle for much of the race was good, but not where I wanted to be. The second race didn’t begin so well, which was my fault. But I felt good right from the first lap, fit and strong and ready to battle. I was passing riders quickly but maybe I got a little too impatient and crashed into someone. I went down pretty hard and winded myself. I managed to re-join the race but after a few laps I was in more and more pain, so I had to pull out as I knew something wasn’t right. I’ll get checked out and I’ll be doing everything I can to be ready for round five on Sunday.”
Jorge Prado – P17
“I had a better gatepick compared to last Sunday and had a perfect jump out of the gate. It was good to lead for a while but then the front wheel broke and I had re-join the race, more or less in the same place but a lap down! I let Tony through and then just followed him. Just bad luck. Another rider hit me from behind at the start of the second moto and pushed me completely to the outside. I had to start charging hard and passed many guys until [Gautier] Paulin blew-out a full berm in front of me and I was already committed to the line. My front wheel grabbed the sand and I almost went over the bars. It was another situation that I could do nothing about, and I lost the rhythm. It’s a pity. Luck was not on my side today but I’m happy in a way because I made big progress with my riding from last Sunday. I’m hungry for even better this weekend.”
Mitch Evans – P19
“It was a bit of a better day than Sunday so I’m happy with how it turned out, even if it didn’t start off so well. The first moto wasn’t the best, after getting taken out in the start and then again later in the lap so I went into the second race with the mindset that it can really only get better from here, which thankfully it did. I ripped a good start and was able to hang with the top guys but then my lack of bike time caught up with me and I was able to bring it home in 15th. The more laps I do, the better I progress so I’m staying positive and I know I’ll get back to where I was at the beginning of the season.”
In the early stages of the race bad luck struck the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory machine of Ben Watson who was forced out of the race with a technical issue. Drama also struck Ruben Fernandez of Team SDM Corse Yamaha who went down and re-joined the race in last place.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory MX2 rider Thomas Kjer Olsen was having a much better start to the races and was running in 5th, trying to catch Boisrame who was just ahead of him.
By lap 7, Geerts extended his lead to 3 seconds over Vialle, who had Moosdijk and Boisrame breathing down his neck as they aimed for higher positions. The three riders were then in a battle of their own. By the following lap Van de Moosdijk had managed to pass Vialle and then another lap later it was Boisrame’s turn who also passed the KTM rider and moved into P3.
As Olsen closed down on Vialle, fellow Dane Mikkel Haarup from F&H Kawasaki Racing was also closing in on Maxime Renaux of SM Action MC Migliori – J1 Racing. He was later able to pass the Yamaha rider and moved up into 6th which meant that the F&H squad had all three of their riders well in the top 10.
With just a few laps to go, Olsen put a charge on Vialle, and tried to pass the Frenchman at the end of pitlane but just missed out, which meant he had to settle for 5th in the race.
In the end it was Jago Geerts who won the opening MX2 race, followed by Van de Moosdijk, Boisrame and Vialle.
A first-turn fall saw Jed Beaton forced to fight his way through the field during the opening MX2 moto at the MXGP of Riga. The last rider on track after parting company with his FC 250, a heroic effort on the opening lap saw the Australian work back up to 19th place. Showing superior fitness, Beaton continued his charge, setting his fastest lap of the moto on lap 13 as he worked his way towards an eventual eighth-place finish.
MX2 Race Two
In the second race, it was the race one winner, Jago Geerts who claimed his first FOX Holeshot of the season as he crossed the white chalk line on turn one first. Van de Moosdijk was right there in second with Vialle in third. Meanwhile it was another strong start for Boisrame, as well as Australian Nathan Crawford of Honda 114 Motorsport who was in 5th.
Boisrame wasted no time and was all over the back of Vialle, while Olsen got caught up in more drama and was riding back to the pits following a crash.
Boisrame made a swift move on Vialle, and then set his sights on his team-mate Van de Moosdijk just ahead of him. The two F&H Kawasaki riders battled with one another for most of the races, as Boisrame was held up by his team-mate at one point in the race, as he was clearly keen to push for more.
While Watson was making his way back up the board in P14, Boisrame continued to look for a way to pass his team-mate which allowed Vialle to step it up a gear and catch up to the two Kawasaki.
With 8 minutes + 2 laps to go, it was Geerts who continued to lead. Van de Moosdijk was in P2 with Boisrame not letting off right behind him. Then there was Vialle, who was being followed by Renaux and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory machine of Jed Beaton who was having a much better race that time around. The 22-year-old Aussie made multiple challenges to advance into fifth place but couldn’t find a way through.
Fernandez was also there in 7th, with Haarup, Rene Hofer of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse was there in 9th.
As Watson continued to climb positions, his team-mate Geerts had made a mistake that lost him a load of time allowing Van de Moosdijk to get close to the leader.
In the end Van de Moosdijk ran out of time and was forced to settle for 2nd, as Geerts took a double race win, and Boisrame finished third.
Overall it was Jago Geerts with a great comeback to claim 2 race wins, 1 FOX Holeshot and the top step of the podium, meanwhile we all experienced a ‘Deja Vu’ moment with Van de Moosdijk finishing 2nd, with his team-mate Boisrame as the third rider on the podium.
Jed Beaton crossed the finish line in sixth position the Australian earned sixth overall and maintains third place in the MX2 World Championship standings.
Countryman Bailey Malkiewicz showed early promising form on his CRF250R posting 10th place in qualifying before finishing 19th in the opening moto and 17th in the second to take six championship points for the round and ranks 26th in the MX2 Championship.
Nathan Crawford had scored strongly over the first three rounds but failed to bag any points at this round. Due to his good scores earlier in the season though Crawford is 15th in the MX2 Championship.
Jago Geerts – P1
“Overall it was a really good day for me. I got my first holeshot of the year in the second heat so I was really happy with that. I felt good on my bike and on the track, so from here I look forward to racing here again on Sunday and getting closer to leading the championship.”
Roan van de Moosdijk – P2
“Our second wonderful GP in the space of four days for another double-podium for myself and Mathys! I clinched the first pole position of my GP career, two good starts from the inside gate and two fun battles with Mathys. I had a good flow in race two and we both came up to Geerts; at one point I thought I could make a run on him for the win but in the end it was just too big a risk. I just missed my first victory but we will get one soon. The entire team is so supportive and we just tried to relax since Sunday with cycling and easy stuff. All of the team works so hard, in particular our trainer Marc de Reuver. After the first moto he walks the entire track, taking photos to give us advice and so much more; without him it would be so much more difficult.”
Mathys Boisrame – P3
“It was a very good day for me; second in the timed practice session and then twice third and a podium result. In the second race I had a nice battle with Roan; I tried to pass him both races but we are so equal and this track is so difficult to pass; we had a nice battle in the second race but in the end I started to make a few small mistakes and that cost me a lot of energy so it was wiser to secure the podium result. The track was rough but I like that; the bumpier the better. We recovered well on Monday, so it was no problem to race for the second time in four days. My thanks to the team who provide us with everything we need to make good results. Marc is always working with us; it’s the first time that I have a trainer and I’m happy to be able to show on the track that this package is just perfect.”
Tom Vialle – P4
“I made the starts today but struggled a bit with my rhythm. I was able to fight with Mathys [Boisrame] and Roan [Van de Moosdijk] for a little bit although I lost the tow after. We will work a little bit on my suspension setting for next Sunday. We still lead the championship and it is not too bad to take a 4-4 on a track where I wasn’t feeling so good today. Sunday will be a new day and I hope we will be able to fight for the win again.”
Jed Beaton – P6
“Another tough GP. Qualifying went great again but I went down in the first turn of the first race. I was dead last and just charged the whole moto and ended up with eighth place. That was ok but not really what I wanted. Moto two was better. A decent start and I moved into sixth place so I was in a good position. I had a good pace but after the first race I’d used up a lot of energy. I challenged Maxime Renaux a few times but couldn’t quite make the pass stick. A frustrating day but I’m healthy and looking forward to racing again on Sunday.”
Mikkel Haarup – P7
“This GP was definitely an improvement. I had a better qualification so I was more to the inside on the gate today, but I still need to dial in my starts. I had good speed to ride my way back through and on the last lap of the first race I could see Vialle and Olsen so I thought I had to try on the inside at the split lanes before the finish. It was slippery and I launched the bike off the track but I picked the bike up quickly and kept sixth. I’m not where I want to be speed wise yet but it was good enough today to move back to seventh in the championship. My technique is good so I just need to avoid making too many mistakes and I’ll be back in the top three with my teammates. The schedule with three races in a week is perfect for me; there was enough time for recovery and it’s nice to be able to change it round so soon if you have had a bad race. I’m already looking forward to Sunday! “
Simon Langenfelder – P9
“It was the first GP ever on a Wednesday, so this was something new and exciting. I had a decent qualifying time and I felt great on my GASGAS, so I was looking forward to the races. I had made a great start in the first race, fourth place so that made the race a lot easier for me. I slipped back to sixth place where I stayed for a lot of the race so that was good, running up front in MX2. I slipped back to ninth towards the end but I was really happy with my result. In race two I had another good start, but the front guys were going really fast and the track was gnarly, so I rode my own race and finished 12th. I had two solid races, good points and ninth overall is a great day for me and the team and we look forward to racing again on Sunday.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P13
“My first race was good but I was still struggling with my shoulder. I finished fifth which I was a little surprised about because I can’t really ride how I’d like to because I of my injury. I have to compensate and hold onto the bike differently, which is a bit of a challenge. I came here really prepared and my fitness is good so it’s a shame. But still, fifth place was a great result. Unfortunately, early in the second race I came together with someone and crashed. I was already sore and banged myself up again so it would have been impossible to score any points in the second moto.”
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